The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

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The 2011 Questars Adventure Race Series - Event 5

Results:

Full race results are available to download and view above. Do take a look at other teams' split times to see which checkpoints they visited and in what order they visited them. You can learn a lot from other teams' route choices.

The 2011 Questars Adventure Race Series Leaderboard has been updated with the scores from this race and can be downloaded here.

Photos:

Race photos taken by a member of the Quest Team have been put in the Questars website gallery. Do take a look at these photos to see if you were captured in action on Saturday.

Race Report:

The fifth and penultimate event in the 2011 Questars Adventure Race Series took place on Saturday in clear weather conditions.

The event was variously described by participants in their post race feedback as :

  • 'a fantastic event - great course, great atmosphere, great people!'
  • 'fun, challenging and very worthwhile'
  • 'a brilliant day out. Exploring new terrain with good views - great fun.'
  • 'fun, energetic, fulfilling, great value event'
  • or simply 'funtabitastic!'

At the pre-race briefing teams were welcomed and advised that they had ahead of them some great terrain to explore on foot, bike and on the water. The north Cotswold Hills, countryside and villages made for very varied terrain with a lot of off road biking and trail running and great views.

What’s more teams were told to look out for and enjoy copious amounts of free energy boosting food liberally distributed all around the course….wonderfully plump blackberries were in every hedgerow, and were devoured in large quantities by those teams not intent on winning positions in the hotly contested eleven prize categories and the overall series leaderboard. It was also highlighted that checkpoint 13 had been located right by a damson tree groaning with ripe fruit for hungry participants to enjoy! MuleBar again provided participants with free pre-race energy bars or energy gels.

Teams from all across the UK and further afield took part, including three from Lithuania. The weather was kind, with good conditions for adventure racing. As with all Questars there were key choices to make right at the start of the race. The location of the three dummy checkpoints on the trail run and mountain biking stages plus the value of all 36 available checkpoints were revealed on the start line as team collected that all important Checkpoints Card.

Those teams with early kayaking slots headed down the short route to the nearby kayak transition point. Kayaking time slots have been distributed evenly over the 2011 Questars Series of events so that teams in each category have a mix of time slots. In this way the different options of kayaking first, last or in the middle of the race have been provided to all competitors. Once on the River Avon teams quickly adapted to the moving water, to locate upto six bankside checkpoints. It was a real strategic decision whether to go for the furthest and most valuable kayaking checkpoint. Collecting it's 45 points was enticing but also held the risk of being late back and picking up a 50 point penalty.

The trail run stage kept close to the river for a significant section. Riverside checkpoints drew the runners along the Avon before deciding whether to head back to base or take to the slopes of Bredon Hill in search for the highest value checkpoints. Those that did brave the heights were rewarded with panoramic views of the Cotswold Edge to the south, across to The Forest of Dean and Black Mountains and nearby Malvern Hills in the west and the extensive Midlands Plain to the north.

Joe, Stephen, Hugh and Kyle of the Capita Symonds adventure Racing Team achieved the accolade of not only clearing all six kayaking checkpoints within time but also visiting all 15 trail checkpoints - quite an achievement. But this left them with time only to visit one of the biking checkpoints.

There were even more points available to the mountain bikers with checkpoints scattered over both the flat river plain and the far from flat southern part of the map. Many teams reported that the ride up the hill was very tough but this was rewarded with exhilarating descents. Every one of the top teams took different routes when collecting the biking checkpoints. So again it goes to show that the fourth discipline of Questars events – making key strategic decisions about which checkpoints to visit, in which order and with which route - is as important as fitness, stamina, technique and transitioning quickly.

All these skills were amply displayed by the winners of the event prizes. These consisted of certificates that double as cash vouchers to spend at the internet adventure race retailer www.likeys.com. As ever top honours were strongly contested. Husband and wife team Dan & Lenka Straka were amazed and delighted to win the Questars Duo event - that's the category of teams that opt not to kayak and hence had the two stages of trail running and mountain biking. David Husband fought off strong challengers Sally and Simon, who teamed up as The Bishops Cleevage, to win the overall Questars Trio Novice event.

In the Questars Trio Masters event three of the top four places were taken by Veteran teams i.e. the over forties, which goes to show that a bit of experience and stamina can overcome some of the younger competitors. Kevin Stephens lived upto his team name of  Hilllbilly by conquering the Cotswold Hills in some style and amassing a winning margin of over 50 points. Another notable performance was that of Helen Bennett who won the Ladies class and was 8th overall in the Questars Trio Masters category and like Kevin visited all the mountain biking checkpoints.

Many teams sported colourfully coordinated tops. A team of four in the Ladies class who were competing in the fourth of the one day Questars events were aptly called The Awesome Foursome and had donned striking lime green T shirts. As they crossed the finish line they showered each other with a bottle of bubbly in celebration!

Feedback from participants was sought on the day's event and judging by the quotes above it was greatly enjoyed. Views were also taken on where teams would like to see Quest host next year's Questars (1 day) and Q2 (2 day) events.

There is just one more event in the 2011 Questars series. This is a Q2 The Quest Challenge weekend event. It's on 1 & 2 October and will be based from a delightful riverside location in the heart of Thetford Forest in the Breckland area on the Norfolk/Suffolk borders. Optional camping is included. Further details can be found on the event page here. If you'd like to take part in this event do book online quickly to secure a place.

 

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